[BOOK] Hangeul Master | 한글마스터

DISCLAIMER: Skip to the picture for the review. And apologies if I’ll be mixing romanizations of 한글 from Hangeul to Hangul. In the end, it should be read as 한글 anyway. ㅎㅎㅎ

After some years, I will finally be reviewing another book. My last review was posted some years ago so it’s about time to start another one. I decided to post this first rather than the other books I originally planned to review just to warm up a bit since I haven’t been writing for a long time now.

I bought this in Korea last year, some random 교보문고 visits and I can say that this book is just an impulse buy. I’m not being ‘all that’, snubbing Hangul books just because I already know how to read and write and I’m already at 중급 (intermediate level), since surprisingly, some books that are often overlooked upon can give you that basic knowledge that you may not even know of even if you’re already at the higher levels.

Some people actually get by using a language without learning how to read and write (shoutout to phrasebooks), which is not a bad thing anyway for the sake of travel comforts, but in my sphere it’s always knowing more than just the basics. I always have the itch for in-depth information about stuff so when I saw this book, I immediately picked it up.

I am honestly ‘not’ in the process of studying Korean when I was in Korea so I haven’t had any updates about new books and whatnots so this was a completely new book when I saw it. And when I’ve read from the cover that it was from Talk To Me In Korean, I had no hesitations. This was my first book from them, and it’s just fair for me to give back since I owe them about 20% of my Korean knowledge. I didn’t have any means to donate way back so buying this book would at least help them to continue spreading the love for the language, and I hope it really does! TTMIK 화이팅!!

한글마스터 | Hangeul Master
★★★★/ | 4 and a half stars

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“Go from being a novice to a Hangeul Master in a short time with this book! Hangeul Master is chock-full of everything you need to know about Hangeul!”

“Secrets of reading Korean Handwriting”

“300 writing samples from native Koreans”

To start of…

How do I buy books? (this includes English literature and novels)

  1. Design
  2. Author
  3. Price
  4. Promising content (without reading blurbs and book introductions)

1. I base on design. Yes. I believe that there’s nothing wrong in judging the books by their covers. We’ve reached the new millenium, guys please!! If authors can put their mind, heart and soul into writing a book’s content, they should be able to judge as well how the covers should look like. They’re not the designers of course but at least the publishing company should be able to match the content with the book’s physical attributes. Right??

2. Since this has been written and designed by Talk To Me In Korean, I already had the feeling that the book would be simple, easy to digest, and visually exceptional. And yes, it truly is.

3. Price is a bit ‘up there’ but then again, it’s me giving back to TTMIK so no hesitations at all, really.

4. Since this has been marketed as a book that will be able to teach you Hangul without buying any other books, that thought alone sounded very promising to me, so I didn’t bother checking the back cover for serious intro. I don’t read novel introductions as well lol. I breezed through the pages though to check how it looks like and it got JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

Basically, this book met my expectations whenever buying a book so let’s hop into the review. (This is me being very defensive why I bought the book, haha.)

The book is comprised of four (4) chapters:

1. The History of 한글

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This chapter is an overview of how the language came about. Basic stuff, really. I expected more but of course, people don’t always take particular interest regarding history of certain stuff so keeping this chapter short was just practical.

nook-exampleThe chapter talked about how 한자 was used before and how The Great King Sejong came up with the writing system to replace it, and when in October 9, 1446 한글 was announced (so it became 한글날 / Hangul Day) in Korea. Also about how it wasn’t at all embraced immediately by the people due to possible relationship issues with China, and how Japanese took over Korea for some time, hence the ban of the writing system in all publications… and all that stuff.

But then I was expecting more. I was particularly interested about 훈민정음 (Hunminjeongeum) or The Correct/Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People, but it was just mentioned. Furthermore, I was also very interested about Middle Korean; What those characters were, how they were pronounced, or at least a brief overview on how they evolved. Also when was the time they totally ditched the mixed script and went on publishing in full Hangul (sans 한자). This chapter felt incomplete, knowing that the entire book focuses on 한글. Maybe it’s just me again since I just needed an in-depth info.

2. Introduction to 한글

Totally just an introduction about the vowels and consonants, stroke orders and the c+v / c+v+c / c+v+c+c syllable blocks.

3. Learn 한글

This is the main part of the book where you can learn everything about 한글, from writing, to reading, to pronunciation and all that good stuff. Please be advised that audio files are available for download through this link.

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This includes appropriate illustrations and even the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) to match the standard pronunciation. Another chapter is also dedicated to 받침 (final consonants), since pronunciation for a certain character depends on where it is placed.

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Some things that I STILL DON’T KNOW ABOUT are these compound final consonants. Without this book, I wouldn’t be able to know that there are 11 compound consonants and it’s still a good FYI especially for pronunciation since it’s baffling at first when you’re asked to read 읽다 and you don’t even know if it should be read as 일다 or 익따.

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Of course, the ever confusing linking sounds such as 좋다 [조타], 같이 [가치], 막내 [망내], 신라 [실라] and all that complex pronunciation rules are present in this book.

And of course one of the main reasons why I bought the book is…

4. 한글 Handwriting

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I am very fascinated about the writing system so I started learning how to read and write 한글 even before studying basic phrases (aside from the very basic 안녕하세요s and 감사합니다s). I honestly pushed myself to study the writing system since it’s more of like a bragging right to be able to read another language (even if I didn’t know what they meant).

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I can still remember how my writing looked like that one from above… and how it turned out to be like this…

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It’s really small, mind you but I like it just the way it is. However I still wanted to write naturally as how Koreans do so I really am trying to make an effort to mix and match the techniques from the book to come up with my own natural-looking handwriting.

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The handwriting part takes about more than 50% of the book so if you really want to try and emulate how Koreans write naturally, this book is filled with examples.

As simple as the book is, there are a lot of exercises and final exams as well. For convenience, answers can be found on the back of the book. There are also trivia like when Korean start to learn Hangeul, what are 한자s, Korean loanwoards, etc.

Will I recommend this book for first time learners?

Most definitely!!! There are a lot of amazing resources online and basic level 1 textbooks include 한글 as part of the first few lessons. But if you think you really need to be a modern 한글 master, this book is a good resource not just on how to read and pronounce, but to write in correct order and in cursive form if you challenge yourself to write as natural as possible right from the start of your studies.

Pros:

  • Very much beginner friendly. Relevant words and phrases when first learning the language for the first time are presented through examples.
  • Focuses on the Hangul writing system, the stroke order, pronunciation, and all that good stuff.
  • Supports Talk To Me In Korean (if you buy it, it will be a good help to the team).
  • The ‘only’ (please correct me here) Korean book targeted to foreigners that will teach you how to write like a Korean.

Cons:

  • More information regarding the history of 한글 particularly the Middle Korean characters that look like triangles or the triple final consonants, etc.
  • Pronunciation (I wouldn’t stress about this though, I reviewed a pronunciation book before 외국인을 위한 한국어 발음 47 | 47 Korean Pronunciation for Foreigners Book 1 and knowing that there are two books in the series, who am I to demand better pronunciation guide through this mini book?)

Conclusion

There can never be a better book in learning Hangul than this book right here. Like what I’ve said before, Hangul can easily be learned through resources online but to become a Hangul Master, this is definitely the book.

Technical facts about the book:

한글마스터 | Hangeul Master
Copyright © 2014 TalkToMeInKorean

Price: 19,000원
ISBN: 978-89-5605-719-4 (13710)

I hope this will help you on your way towards becoming a Hangul Master!

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Hangeul Day! | 한글날!

I should actually be doing our homework but since I only have about an hour to post this stuff for it to be a bit more ‘related’ with the world, I should hurry. Lol.

Today is Korean Alphabet Day or 한글날 as we all know it *or not*. It marks the invention of the highly scientific and easy-to-learn alphabet of Koreans known as 한글 (Hangeul). Actually, Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines celebrated the day by having a game similar to Star Golden Bell. This time they gave participants a copy of the questions and answers, but only a percent of it will be used for the actual game. The answers were given in English or Romanized if it’s a Korean name, and the participants would just have to answer in Hangul.

I half-planned joining the said event but I just don’t have time (well I can actually make time, but chose not to), and I don’t usually join stuff like that. I’m more of the reserved-type, lol.

Anyway, earlier before our class started, Alodia 씨 (http://mykoreancorner.wordpress.com/) was at school and she introduced herself. I was surprised so I didn’t know what to say. To Alodia 누나, let’s talk longer some other time ㅎㅎ.

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Please excuse my Sadako-looking nails.

These are my nails! Please don’t judge me, I’m not good at doing things like this, and I don’t ever put nail polish or nail art or something. This is just something that we did last Saturday because me and my cousins were bored and I thought about this to be fun and interesting. There’s been a lot of mistakes. First, we actually printed lyrics in 한글, but the printer was not very sharp so the text won’t register. What’s good about those lyrics if it turned out good is that it was mirrored, and it will register on my nails as how you would correctly read it.

Now a lot of people at school asked me how I did this because they were amazed, so I shall teach you guys how to do it too.

Sorry if I don’t have pictures to illustrate this, but:

1. Print Korean anythings, or if you have like photocopies of Korean stuff, you can use it. Make sure it’s something like paragraphs or Korean lines etc. It’s better if the paper is white, and the text should be black for better clarity.

2. If you want the text to look right, mirror it through Adobe Photoshop or similar photo-editing programs. It will do the job right.

3. Prepare your nails by cleaning it, obviously. My cousin put a nail base/hardener/I’m-not-sure-what-that-was, because she said it will help my nails to be stain-free when the nail polish fades.

4. Put a plain white nail polish. If one coat is not enough, wait for it to dry and have another round afterwards.

5. Cut out the printed Korean text by lines, it’s your choice if you want it to be super spaced or not. You can also decide about it when editing your material before printing. Anyway, since my copy’s spacing is a bit apart from each other, I decided to cut it out line-per-line.

6. Place the printed strips onto your nails. You may think I just put glue or something but not. Place the printed strips, with the text against your nails (the reason for mirroring the text). If it’s not mirrored, it will look like mine’s.

7. After placing it appropriately onto your nails, pour a generous amount of alcohol above the paper. Press it gently for it to register successfully. This will have the text make an impression onto your nails. The text on the paper will be transferred onto your nail, but you should do this carefully so as not to mess up.

8. Let the paper dry a bit. It should be half-wet, half-dry then gently peel the paper off your nails. You can check underneath while peeling because sometimes, the text won’t come out fully. If it didn’t, replace the paper and pour another round of alcohol.

9. Repeat step 6 on a single nail if the text was not sufficient, then repeat it for every nail.

10. Put colorless nail polish above to protect it from fading and getting messed up easily.

Now you have 한글 nails!!!

Happy 한글 day!!!

Hangul Typing | 한글 타이핑

It was one of those days when I was in the middle of ‘panggap’-ing as Korean ‘한국인 척하는 중이다’ when I realized how great it was for me to know how to type in Korean. I’m trying really hard to ‘panggap’ while I was standing inside the train, but unluckily for me, no one’s asking me to take a seat. I am studying while standing which is super super hard. Whenever I had no time to make my homeworks at home and at the office, I do it while I’m on my way to school.

So that time, I am answering my workbook, but not through my handwriting, because I don’t want my book to be super messy and that is way too impossible. Besides writing inside the train even if you’re sitting is a bit dizzy-fying. So I have my trusty Blackberry phone for these moments.

QWERTY keypad sans 한글

QWERTY keypad sans 한글 ㅜ.ㅜ

Last February, I have been contemplating for so long if I should get a Samsung SIII Mini or a Blackberry Curve 9320 for my postpaid plan, but since I hate anything Android, and SIII Mini would just sacrifice itself as a toy, not a phone (since people would be playing or do a lot of stuff in there), I chose Blackberry. And another big reason for me, is I want to learn how to type in 한글 through my 휴대폰. Not that I’m making things inconvenient (touch screen phones are the easiest way to type), I just want to feel how to type through my phone in 한글 even if there are no 자모 indicators.

Before I got this phone, I already know how to type in 한글, up to 70-80 Korean characters per minute through my laptop. Now, I’m on a whopping speed of 130 Korean characters per minute, which still may not be fast for you. Hmm, probably I still consider it slow, but I can now type long paragraphs without looking at the keyboard, with minimal typos.

Back to my ‘panggap’ moment from the train, I have the book on my left hand, and my Blackberry phone on my right. I am answering my assignment which is not a simple fill in the blank with words. You have to answer the questions in sentences. It’s hard to type in one hand since your left hand already memorized the keys, and giving it all to the right is very confusing and slow. I can now type 한글 through my phone too without looking, but with one hand, it’s just so hard, but just the thought that I could at least do it 천천히, I’m contented. Now…

How I started learning how to type

I started by sticking hand-cut 자모 letters through my keyboard but it didn’t even last a month. In short, I haven’t had any practice with it. It keeps on falling off so I got annoyed and removed it right away.

I installed Korean input and had a Korean keyboard layout picture always open. Back in the days, I was just like this:

Notepad + Korean keyboard layout picture

Notepad + Korean keyboard layout picture

Everything I type goes straight into my very trusty Notepad, before I paste in on Google or anywhere I might need Korean characters.

I practiced like that, without buying Korean keyboard stickers, or typing through romanizations. I just let my fingers memorize the letters as how I could see it through the layout. When I finally half-memorized the keys, I finally neglected the Korean keyboard layout picture and just did it ‘correct-as-you-type’, frequently hitting backspace and trying my luck on another key if that’s the right character. But then I had to step up, so I tried to find interactive ways how to type, looking for WPM tests, etc. And these are, for me, the best tools I’ve used for practicing my typing.

Daum 기즈짱 – 타자연습

키즈짱 타자!!

키즈짱 타자!!

Basically it’s a Korean typing game for kids. There are three modes:

  1. 자리연습 – in this mode, you type per 자모. This mode is divided into three, the 기본자리, or the middle layout with practices for ㅁ ~ ㅎ or ㅗ ~ ㅣ, 윗자리, or the upper layout with practices for ㅂ ~ ㅅ or ㅃ ~ ㅒ, and the 아랫자리, or the lower layout with practices for ㅋ ~ ㅍ or ㅠ ~ ㅡ. I honestly didn’t practice through this mode because it’s boring. LOL. Or not… but this one’s actually good. There are rockets with the characters in it, and you have to make them explode before it reaches the screen.
  2. 낱말연습 – in this mode, there are words written on bombs, and the kid have to zap it before it destroys the whole city. This is where I practiced a lot. Before I could only get 700점 over 1300점 for Level 1, but now I can go even 1400점 easily for Level 5. Level 1 for slower fall and easiest words, Level 7 is the fastest and more complex words. I still can’t pass through Level 6 so maybe I still need more practice.

    예~

    예~

  3. 문장연습 – in this mode, you get to type sentences. This one’s boring so I rarely tried it.

10FastFingers 타자 테스트

You are given a minute to type a horizontal list of words which I’ve read from somewhere, does not make any sense, since a good typing test should be sentence-based. But anyway, I have been playing here before and I only get 70-85 WPM, but just now, I tried it and I got 97 WPM and three mistakes for first try, since playing this after a long time is tenseful. But for the second try, I got: 

So happy.

So happy.

TypeRacer

마지막으로… I settled here since this is more ‘accurate’ *or not* than 10FastFingers, since 112 WPM is too much. I only get 100+ for English, and I get 112 for Korean? That’s just wrong calculation, lol.

Google Translate alert...

Google Translate alert…

In TypeRacer, you compete with other players and you get to track your progress so it’s better than the other two. And this is more accurate since it measures CPM rather than WPM, which is more important in Korean because a word requires a lot of characters before it’s formed. There’s also a ranking system, Beginner at 0 – 60 CPM, Intermediate ate 63-75, Average at 78-103, Pro at 105-135 (I’m at 130), Typemaster at 138-198, and Megaracer at 200+.

Why type?

As soon as I learned how to read and write, typing has been one of the things I mastered. I consider myself a Google genius, since I can find the hardest things to find in the internet through my carefully picked Google search terms. Now, I can also find rare Korean torrents and files (hihi) and articles through the help of my typing. If you don’t know how to type, you’ll mostly rely on online virtual keyboards or typing through romanizations which is way uncool. And besides, it’s cool if a friend sees you typing in another language, another bragging rights for you. And yeah… as much as it’s important to know Korean words, grammar, and expressions, if you can’t type, you’re nothing. LOOOOL.